Taiwanese People’s Favorability Toward the Chinese Communist Party from 2017 to January 2020
Author: Shi-Huei Yang
After a series of suppressive actions from China, would the Taiwanese people’s perspective on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have changed? You might be surprised that people's attitudes are fairly stable in contrast with the passionate emotions in the media.
At the beginning of 2019, Chinese Chairman Xi Jinping gave a speech to mark 40 years, the “Message to Compatriots in Taiwan”, which is a key Chinese policy statement towards relations with Taiwan. He reiterated that Beijing calls for a peaceful unification on a one-country-two-systems basis. However, he also said that Taiwan “must and will be” reunited with China, even they need to use force against Taiwan.
Nevertheless, Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen turned his unification proposal down. She said Taiwan would never accept reunification with China under the terms offered by Beijing. And she added that Taiwan would never accept 'one country, two systems'. The vast majority of Taiwanese public opinion also resolutely opposes “one country, two systems”, and this is also the “Taiwan consensus.” Tsai’s statement won wide applause from the Taiwanese people.
Since President Tsai took office in 2016, China has heaped pressure on her as she comes from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. China is afraid that Tsai would make Taiwan’s formal independence come true, even if she repeated that maintaining the status quo is her policy. As a result, in the recent year, Beijing has made Taipei's international allies cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish relations with China instead. Since China keeps insisting that other countries need to choose whether Taiwan or China, not both. In addition, Beijing also has forced airlines and hotels to list Taiwan as part of China on their websites. Not to mention that China has regularly sent military aircraft and naval ships to circle Taiwan's territory. Beijing has consistently claimed Taiwan as part of its territory that has no right to be treated as a separate political entity with international recognition.
Lately, with China’s suppression against Taiwan, the Taiwanese people share a hatred of the same enemy and resist Beijing’s bullying on the social media. The question is “does this momentum alter the Taiwanese people preference toward the Chinese ruling party, CCP?” In other words, after China-bashing on Taiwan for the past two years in the International Communities, would the feeling of Taiwanese for CCP would change or not?
To answer this question, this article analyzed a public opinion survey commissioned by the Chinese-language online media outlet My Formosa, which was conducted by opinion surveyor Tai Li-an (戴立安) started from February 2017 for tracking polls every month. The questionnaires were conducted by asking the Taiwanese people whether they have good or resentful feelings towards the CCP. According to 24-months of data, the attitude of the Taiwanese towards the CCP has not changed because of Chinese malicious behavior. China’s actions against Taiwan are not the main factors that affect Taiwan’s perception of the CCP.
This finding, different from academic assumptions, shows a very interesting view. It is common that opinion surveys use a term “favorability” to rate people’s feelings about partisans and parties. They usually change as the elapse of time and the emergence of major events. Yet, Taiwanese people opinions towards the CCP appears to not change based on China's current aggression.
Shi-Huei is a Taiwanese scholar who has long been concerned about Taiwanese Opinion. Before she received her Ph.D. degree, she already published five TSSCI journal articles, mostly focused on the Taiwanese attitude toward political negotiation. The study on the polls shows there is very little mutual trust between two-party camp ( pan-blue, pan-green). To reduce the distrust from two sides, the legislative frame is curial and necessary. That’s the reason Dr. Yang published her professional literature “Comparing Bills for Management and Oversight of Cross-Strait Agreements” based on her previous experience in Legislative Yuan as a Legislative assistant.